This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Physics.
Nanoscale multilayer structures made from alternating magnetic and nonmagnetic metals have important applications in magnetic sensor technology such as the read heads in computer hard drives. Current technology using these materials allows large amounts of data to be stored on small hard drives such as the one in your iPod.
In this project, we will contribute to the development of these materials by analyzing the structural and elemental properties of electrodeposited thin films. The deposition of both a magnetic alloy (NiFe) and a nonmagnetic metal (Cu) will be studied. Students will learn to use and to interpret data from a number of different analysis tools. Structural and elemental analysis will be performed using the College’s scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectroscopy attachment as well as the new scanning probe microscope.